Nature Activity at the FMNH Molly Williams


Museums of Natural History are meant to provide visitors with a unique experience to come in contact with aspects of the past and nature people might not ordinarily come in contact with. The museum was a way for me to learn about nature and myself. It was a nice reprieve from the stresses of school and I was able to explore the various exhibits.

Nature on Display

A display I found appealing was the one showing Native Americans, the exhibits showed the people, houses they lived in, and tools they used. One of the reasons I found this particular exhibit so appealing is that when visiting a natural history museum I was expecting only animal exhibits, not people. The first part of the exhibit I saw were the huts with clay people from a window display and I was captivated by it. I do not often think about the culture of people who lived long before me and to see it at this museum in the types of houses they lived in and the types of clothes they wore (indicated in the middle picture) made me realize the importance of people's cultures past and present. I was captivated by the people's culture that was on display and was so glad I got to visit a museum that was able to provide such realistic exhibits. If I had only looked at pictures of exhibits instead of in person I would not have been able to appreciate the intricate detains of the displays, like the patterns on the clothing of the people. The thing I most enjoyed was being able to walk through an area of the museum that had exhibits that were interconnected to each other; it was like walking through a story.

Nature and Ethics

The natural history museum was able to provide me with a way to view the world as Leopold recommends as I was in constant awe by the majority of the exhibits. The awe I felt helped me to realize that we as humans have to learn to coexist with nature instead of trying to overrun it. When I was looking at fossils of extinct animals I was able to physically see how fragile life can be and how we as people must make an effort to take care of our environment to preserve this life. When looking at all of the extinct animals it was shocking for me to see in real life that many animals that are no longer around. I was disheartened to realize that just as the giant sloth pictured above, animals like polar bears might also be extinct soon if we don't start respecting our environment. People around me seemed to be feeling similarly to myself when looking at the fossils. I heard visitors talk among each other about how it is hard to believe that all of these animals were once here and now cease to exist. The extinct animal exhibit helps bring awareness to extinction which allows people to realize that it can still happen. One of the ways the museum allows people to connect with nature is by not having an environment where people are strictly just reading information. Although the museum can be a learning environment and does have written information at exhibits, the physical displays make people more interested in learning and have more of a desire to explore other parts of museum rather than standing in one place and reading pages upon pages of information.

Nature and the Human Spirit

The Natural History museum can help us step out of our ordinary lives because it provides a place for people to escape the pressure and stress of their everyday lives. The museum allows you to learn history of the world from extinct animals to people that used to live solely off the land. The museum shows how our world went from dinosaurs up until now and lets us appreciate the mystery of evolution the natural world provides. Many aspects of the museum also show the beauty of the world, one of the exhibits that did this for me was the butterfly garden. When I went into the butterfly garden it was quiet and peaceful allowing visitors to relax and observe their surroundings. I sat on a bench for a little while and just watched the butterflies glide through the air and was actually able to help me step out of my life for a few moments. The quiet and peaceful atmosphere allowed time for my own self reflection and appreciation that I can experience nature how I did.

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